Avant Theatre & Language
August 2011 - Bhishma The Grandsire & Bhishma The Pitamaha (The 1st Chapter from the MOKSHA Trilogy)
The play in a nutshell explores the inner secrets, trials and tribulation of this central and prominent character, Bhishma of Mahabharata.
He is respected as one of the Gurus not just in the period but also in the style of this thoughts and action which reflect the truth of today that can be adopted for a righteous living. Yet when we go through his steps and path that he crafted for himself, we question, why did he fall? Where did he falter? A man who had the liberty to choose his own death chooses to live at the most difficult moments but decides to end his life at a humble request.
This play makes an effort to dig deep into the hearts of a man in which no woman is ‘believed’ to have ever resided. It attempts to examine the strength of a man who stood face-to-face in combat against two Avatars of Vishnu, and even defeated one of them, but put down his bow and arrow on sighting a man who was once a woman.
Through this play we evaluates the psychology of a worshipped mortal who has had one of the longest trysts with time during a period with such extreme events that lead to the longest epic in the world. He is the most glorified warrior, but we throw a different light on his persona. Much has been written and recorded on him, but we give voice to his thoughts and feelings. Let the world hear the sound of a long un-worded silence through Bhishma, the Grandsire.
Bhishma is presented as a Duologue in English & Tamil. Performed by one artiste presenting both languages for about 45 minutes each with a 15 minutes interval. Audience can choose their choice of performance, either English or Tamil to watch. Presented with different episodes and styles for both presentations, this play is sure to make one think while going through a journey of the play through reflection and realisation of the truth in their own lives.
ROMz & JULz - Total Concept Theatre
December 2011 - Romz & Julz
Romz & Julz is abridged and transcreated from William Shakespeare's, Romeo & Juliet. This play is presented as a concept theatrical piece in Tamil. The story explores the struggle between the love of one Capulet and a Montague. The play presents the vital episodes in contemporary style without compromising the holistic understanding of the Bart's work. Injected with a huge dose of humour, the play explores comedy both real and manufactured in sophistication.
The concept of Total Theatre is one which allows the audience total access to the entire theatrical process both on and off stage. Total Theatre presents the audience with options to watch the performance on stage or the process of the performance through real time video streams of the dressing room, foyer, wings and scenic runway as contained entity. It is the choice of the audience to attach oneself to a NARRATIVE or PROCESS.
August 2012 - SAKUNI “Let the Game Begin ..." (The 2nd Chapter from the MOKSHA Trilogy)
Proposed Format - SAKUNI is presented as a dual language play, performed both in English and Tamil. This play is presented by two artists supported by ensemble casts. Audience can choose their choice of performance, either English or Tamil to watch. Each presentation is compiled with different episodes and presented in different styles. The creative output from this play is to make one think while going through a journey of reflection and realization about the path of righteousness and appreciate a classical text with events/incidents narrated as performance interpretations.
Synopsis - SAKUNI is one of the most significant characters of Mahabharata. His soul is raging restless and is seeking Moksha. Always portrayed in a one-dimensional negative light, this character seeks the ultimate statelessness through and from Draupadi, a representation of the Goddess herself. SAKUNI gets Draupadi to play a game of dice with him as a resort to his attempt at gaining salvation for his soul. In the process realisation, SAKUNI is made to face the demons from his past, his blood ties themselves, to explain himself. It is not his enemies that he has to face, but his very own. These are the characters whose lives have been influenced directly or indirectly by SAKUNI and his schemes. Gandhari, Karna and Duryodhana lay their complaints against SAKUNI. SAKUNI elaborates some of the lesser known dimensions of the Mahabharata. Examination of the untold stories reveals new facets to the characters. MOKSHA refers to the blood ties in this world’s longest epic which deals with clashes within one titanic family, the descendants of the Kuruvamsa. Did SAKUNI explain himself and attain the salvation? Was Draupadi convinced? What happened at the end of the second dice game? The play attempts to answers these questions and unties the many complications that we people of today entangle ourselves with without realising the true meaning and the ultimate purpose of life.
Proposed format: Inspired from the play by Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men. This highly acclaimed stage play attempts to depict the reality of the American legal/jury system. It is presented as an Audience Mediated Play where the audience become the directors and mediates who play their favourite roles from the play Twelve Angry Men. This is a first time attempt where actors prepare themselves for all characters in the play and audience choose the role for the actors as they enter the auditorium. This play is highly motivating that explores the unknown strength of the actors that truly validates a stage actor’s profess.
Synopsis: The defence and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other. Based on the play, all of the action takes place on the stage of the jury room.
Proposed format: Presented in Tamil, this monologue spears through the fundamentals of beliefs and filial piety. It questions the basis of humane values that has changed or transcended over time for various reasons. Presented comic and puns in dialogues based on reflection leadings to incidents and stories that are real and close to the heart. "What are we really pawning in life today" is the hard question this play explores. An interactive theatre presentation presented through a monologue.
Synopsis: The last owner in the family business of 'Pawn or temporary loan' is dead. His son who has his own interest far away from the family business is put on the spot light. He is faced with situations that he needs to amicably handle as well as uphold the unprecedented and unobligated family heritage and dignity. "He is who he is but what he is, is based on who is he", a central idea ot a roll back question the play plot devolve with and within.
Proposed format: Presented in English and presented with multicultural casting this play is set in a Media & Theatre genre and using animation on screen and live performance using Experimental techniques performed in a Black Box Theatre.
“Fourlies” is an experimental and surrealistic theatre piece that focuses on many key issues like historical revisionism, creative freedom and character autonomy in a literary work. What if a certain character in a story takes the liberty to re-orchestrate a story to suit her own ends? What if the other characters protest to this interpretation? What should the writer’s main priorities be : Accuracy, Artistic Freedom or Financial Success of a book. These underlying questions combined with a constant social commentary forms the backbone of “Fourlies” . In essence, “Fourlies” is the story of four people and their follies.
“Fourlies” will provoke thought in the audience. Do all humans want to rewrite their past to remodel people’s perceptions of them? Can history be written the way it was or is it always subject to reinterpretations? The drama will instigate the audience to think about these issues and derive answers for themselves.
Erruthyil Yaar is a Trancreation of Agatha Christies’s “And Then There were None”. There are 10 main characters to begin, but as the title might imply, by the end of the book, there are “none”! Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die… Nobody can be so sure if people are telling the truth. Trusting your own instinct is huge in real life, and the book. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, fix, four, three, two, one, none. And Then There Were None was an edge of your seat.
Avant Theatre is highly motivated and accepts the invitation to perform the first two chapters from MOKSHA Trilogy Bhishma, The Pitamaha & SAKUNI, Let The Game Begin under the banner of Fenomena Seni Produksi (M) Sdn Bhd on the invitation from Mr S T Bala, a prominent theatre personality who has worked on many Television, Screen & Stage productions in Malaysia. He is a good friend of Tamil Movie Director K Balachander, who highly recommended Avant’s production which he witnessed when the same productions were staged in India in 2011.
Avant Theatre is humbled by the kind words of encouragement and persevere to stage yet another Theatrical Splendor Written by Dr Elavazhagan Murugan and performed by Puravalan, in and as BHISHMA and in SAKUNI, Balakumaran,Sasirekha, Vemelan, Darshini and Reuben performing from 16th to 20th October 2013.
Avant would really like to thank Vasantham for its support throughout our pilot initiative Masterclass for Acting and Speech & Drama. The turnout of participants was only possible with the help of Vasantham publicity and I am truly thankful for this collaboration. The 4 day workshop had seen its participants learning and molding into potential young artistes through various segments that was taught throughout the workshop. As promised, we had crafted a curriculum catering to the various interests of the participants based on Television acting and programme styles. Both the adult Masterclass participants and the children in Speech & Drama, had opportunities to work on Television acting techniques and stage acting techniques. Certificate of Participation was awarded to those who attended the full four day workshop. On the whole, the curriculum planned by Mr G Selva for Masterclass and by Ms Dhurgah for Speech & Drama worked in perfect tangent. Avant is indeed very pleased to say that MCSD 2013 had been a great success.
Antham Aathi is presented as a Forum Theatre incorporating Augusto Boals Theatre of the Oppressed. A first of its kind in incorporating both the format or styles in depicting everyday issues and seeking resolution from the audience.
April 2014 Calvet
This is a pilot program organised with the support of National Arts Council Literary Wing to nurture the next generation local Tamil writers to explore their writing skills with the assistance of a Mentor.
April 2014 - Fourplay - Presented in English
Through Fourplay the production presented in English, Avant Theatre hopes to introduce new talents into local theatre and provide opportunities for these artistes to gain experience and learn about the realities of producing and staging plays in Singapore. This is especially so for those who do not have formal training or background in the arts or for those who would like to explore an alternative field in their career path as we want to instill the belief that anyone is capable to produce quality work in the arts, as long as they have the passion and determination to strive. Avant has been constantly seeking to bridge the gap between actors and audience through many of its plays presented. Foruplay is another good attempt to bride the gap further and open up the audience participation further to get involved in the play by critiquing and providing valuable feedback on the end product. It also open doors for interactive dialogue session in expressing views and effects of a certain controversial issues that are relevant in today’s society. Avant also aims to introduce theatre and performance appreciation to the younger generation and instill a drive for the arts in them. We stongly encourage schools to take up the AEP grant and Edusave options so as to make theatre accessible to all students, and we heartily enjoy their participation and appreciation of our artistic efforts. Avant truly believes that theatre appreciation starts from the young minds of our future generation, and we hope that such efforts will intrigue students to approach theatre without inhibitions.
April 2014 - Kavichaaral presenting the Late Mr Uthuman Ghani
Kavichaaral will be a poetical presentation of the late Mr Uthuman Ghani’s work in theatrical form as we explore the beauty of the Tamil language explored in a simple yet profound manner that is sure to resonate with every literary patriot. As part of the Tamil Language Festival 2014, Avant is proud to present a celebration of poetry and honour a literary master whose charisma still lingers among those of the Tamil speaking community.
Love has no boundaries is the fundamental idea that late Mr Uthuman Ghani has written in his collection of poems. Avant Theatre attempts to depict selected of his poems into a tapestry of dramatic presentation to induce the love and inspire the future writers to write in Tamil through this presentation. Mr Uthuman Ghani has been looked up to for his Tamil Language fluency and his own coining of words to inspire the audience to love the Tamil Language in many of this Television hosting. Avant Theatre celebrates a man for his love for the language and for being an inspiration for the Tamil language through this dramatic depicting of his own collection of his poems. We also re-introduce to the younger generation Mr Uthuman Ghani and his writings through poetic nuances.
June 2014 - AKKA - The End
Avant Theatre presents AKKA – The End in Tamil with English surtitles. This play has history going back to 1991 where it was presented as a single out for creating the stir of awareness on the subject and life of a transsexual in the Indian Community.
The play has marked then and made a comeback as a stage read after popular demands as the subject and issues discussed were relevant event to day. With the support of Indignation Singapore and The Purple alliance AKKA made a stage comeback as a stage read to two full house audience in August 2013. Thereafter a strong request and appeal was put forth to restage this as a stage play. Obliging to the request Avant Theatre is staging AKKA The End a sequel to the 1991 AKKA.
September - MOKSHA Festival
Avant Theatre celebrates the glory of Mahabharatha, one of the greatest Indian epics that have graced civilisation. The Moksha Festival will cater to pre-school children, primary to tertiary level students, families, friends and literary arts and theatre lovers at large. Activities are presented both in English and Tamil comprising of storytelling, games, discourse, a modern bonfire of an informal village style presentation and discussions. And of course, not forgetting our Moksha Trilogy presentation featuring our plays inspired by the Mahabharatha.
The festival will be presented from 22nd September 2014 till 27th September 2014 at Goodman Arts Centre. Staging plays that are contemporary germinates more local talents in various fields to flourish or opportunity to explore their creativity. Similarly, Moksha is being presented in a contemporary manner. As such, this play will be able to attract artistes as they will be able to explore their versatility. It will also attract a larger audience as the depth of the language used throughout the play will be much understood by the general public. This is definitely beneficial as the language will not be a barrier for the audience to appreciate the performance.
November 2014 - Avant Workshop Series
Back by popular demand and based on the success of last year’sActing for Television and Stage Workshops. AVANT THEATRE in collaboration with VASANTHAM presents THREE EXCITING WORKSHOP SERIES :- Music & Movement, Speech & Drama & Masterclass in Acting for Television & Stage
This Masterclass in Acting for Television and Stage workshop series is creatively designed & developed by one of the acclaimed theatre director and Mediacorp Vasantham’s ‘Most Popular Celebrity’ (2000) award recipient Actor & Host, Mr G Selvananthan, guided by leading experts in the field of Media & Theatre. Following the success of this programme in November 2013, Avant takes pride in expanding the workshop series with enriched elements and a wider participant engagement.
Quarters - An SG50 Presentation
Irruthiyil Yaar ? - Encore
AKKA - The End
POLI Performance 1 - Kathakaalachebam
POLI Performance 2 - Street Theatre